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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Balance

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! A writing career consists of much more than writing stories. Be prepared. Be educated. Make well-informed decisions. For writing craft topics, see the Labels list in the left sidebar as you scroll down the page or check out my handbook in e-book or print.

While writing is a full-time career for many authors, not all are able to sit at their computers for six or more uninterrupted hours each day. In fact, the vast majority of writers must Balance numerous demands on their time. Many have part- or full-time jobs in or out of the home. Some have young children or ill family members to care for. Those who homeschool their kids have an important responsibility to fulfill as well. Children’s extracurricular activities or a job requiring travel can mean lots of time spent on the road and at various venues. Laundry, grocery shopping, meals. And a clean house—what’s that???

That doesn’t even take into consideration the time required for social media, promotion, attending events, etc. in relation to having a writing career. The list goes on and on. What about writing time???

Finding a way to balance it all can add stress to an already hectic life. Unfortunately, no single template will work for everyone. The non-writing demands for every author differ greatly and every writer has a method that fits her situation best. Create a manageable calendar with reasonable and realistic goals. Above all, resist comparison to other authors.

Prioritize... Make a list of those things that require a scheduled or unscheduled commitment each day or certain days.
What non-writing jobs/tasks must be done at or by a specified time?
-Day/night job
-Childcare
-Caregiver
-Homeschooler
-Transportation to and/or from school activities
-Meals
-Pay bills

Other variable responsibilities or activities:
-Laundry
-Volunteer work
-Housekeeping
-Doctor/dentist/vet appointments
-Grocery shopping
-Vacation
-Holidays/birthday parties/anniversaries
-Family time
-Exercise

What writing jobs/tasks must be done at or by a specified time?
-Book deadlines/submissions
-Events/appearances/signings
-Writing chapter meetings
-Blog appearances/scheduled posts
-Contest entry judging

Other variable responsibilities or activities:
-Recordkeeping
-Email
-Website updates
-Social media/promotion
-Critiquing/beta reading

Writing...
What time of day is the most effective for writing?
Are publisher- or self-established deadlines achievable with reasonable and realistic word count goals?
Is the location/atmosphere conducive to successful writing?
Is the plotter/pantser/plantser approach still working well?
Are current critique partners/beta readers offering constructive feeback?
Is the current manuscript the best one to write at this time?

Schedule...
Even if the times vary, penciling in tentative writing times can provide enough motivation to stay on track. A calendar also provides a visual account of available time to help establish good writing goals and make adjustments to non-essential activities. Less wasted time means more writing time.

Relaxation time, family/friends time, and self-time are also important in the balance. Authors can avoid the set-up for failure and finally achieve balance with the most basic of schedules, one that lays out exactly what must be accomplished each day, or anything in between.

Take a deep breath. Prioritize. Schedule. Write.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

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